Haj-Julan, "Reptile-in-Shadows" - The West Weald, Near Skingrad
Reptile has finished copying the writings on the Wayshrine, and prepares to return to Bravil. Suddenly, he hears the screeching cry of a hawk overhead. He looks up, seeing the bird dive down and circle above his head. Reptile lifts his arm, providing a perch for the bird. It lands on his arm, his thick scales proteting him from the hawk's talons. The hawk has a scroll tied to it's leg, which Reptile removes and unfurls to read.
Doubtless by now you've reached the Wayshrine as instructed. I am sending you to Fort Strand, near Anvil. Another Wayshrine is nearby. Your mission is not over, and in fact is just starting. Do not disappoint me, my faithful Lieutenant.
- Captain Galvanus
Reptile rereads the note, scowling silently. He thrusts his arm skyward, dislodging the hawk and sending it back to it's master. He crumples up the scroll, popping it into his mouth and chewing as he turns toward Anvil. He swallows the note as he begins his trek, heading due west.
Later, in the West Weald, near the Gold Road...
Reptile is tossed back from the force of the blow, landing heavily on his back. He quickly gets his feet underneath him, clutching his war axe and dagger tightly. The bear rises onto it's hind legs, roaring at Reptile in challenge. The arrow protruding from it's chest seems to anger it more than anything. Reptile leaps forward, stabbing with his dagger, barely breaking the skin before he rolls out of the way of the bear's claws.
He swings his axe, chopping into the bear's arm, wrenching his weapon free as quickly as he can. The bear swings it's massive paws at Reptile, but he steps back to dodge. The bear presses the attack, trundling forward and swinging several more times. Each time, Reptile steps back, the sharp claws missing him by inches. Time seems to slow for him as the last swipe connects, the claw tips leaving three long but shallow scratches across Reptile's face, stretching from his jaw to his eye. He jumps back, grateful that the bear didn't manage to hit his eye, but wincing at the sharp pain of the scratches.
Reptile leaps forward, going on the offensive. He quickly slashes and stabs with his dagger, inflicting a series of shallow but painful cuts on the bear's face and neck, hacking at the beast's forelegs with his axe. The bear rears up to escape the Argonian's painful stings, giving Reptile a shot at it's underbelly. His dagger moves quickly, cutting and impaling the bear's stomach, while his axe makes slow but heavy impacts. The bear swings it's paws, smacking Reptile in the face with a fierce backhand, knocking him off his feet and on top of a rock.
Only his training and agility prevent him from falling into the river or losing his grip on his weapons. He climbs to his feet slowly, his head ringing from the impact. The bear is right on top of him, charging forward on all fours, slamming it's shoulder into Reptile. The air is knocked from his lungs as he and the bear fall into the river below, the current picking up Reptile and dashing him against a rock. He gasps, sucking in a mouthful of water. His body pulls oxygen from the water, and he breathes deeply, recovering his breath.
The bear flounders onto a rock, gasping for air. The sudden shock of the water had surprised it, but it's massive bulk had prevented it from being swept away. It sits down, nursing it's wounds as it contemplates how to get back to shore.
Reptile doesn't give the bear a chance. Swimming through the raging river like an alligator, his powerful tail providing extra thrust, he approaches the rock from underwater, his sharp eyes allowing him to see the bear clearly. He plans his strike, waiting until the bear's back is turned and it's guard is down. When his chance arrives, he leaps from the water, taking the bear by surprise and severing the tendons on it's back legs. The bear, taken by surprise, can only cry out in pain.
Reptile leaps onto the bear's back, vaulting off and grabbing for the rock above. He manages to clambor up it's slick side, kneeling for a moment to catch his breath. The bear roars it's pain and rage up at him, but can't move due to it's injuries. Reptile sheathes his axe and dagger, pulling his bow and drawing an arrow. He fires on the bear, his arrow sinking into it's shoulder. It roars in pain, elliciting another arrow from Reptile's bow. Although the next two shots fail to slay the beast, his fifth arrow proves too much for ther massive mammal, extinguishing it's life.
Reptile stares down at the beast, making sure it stays down. Debating the merits of scavenging the body against the risks of the river (or the bear getting back up), he turns and walks away, back toward his goal. He has developed a limp, and his face and chest burn with pain from his injuries, but he presses on, not wanting to waste the precious hour of daylight remaining.